A Marvel-ous Use of Negative Space

Here’s yet another bit of evidence to support my contention that artists see the world differently than I do. (OK, so I probably see the world differently for a whole host of reasons, and this is one of the most minor. But let’s not focus on that unsettling reality at the moment. Let’s just roll tape, shall we?)

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The hand (and self-deprecating annotations) belong to Brian Lai, a (shockingly) young Malaysian artist. But the real magnitude of what he’s demonstrating in that video only becomes obvious once you see a negative image of what he’s drawn. Here, on the left, a drawing of Wolverine, produced (I gather) in a fashion similar to the one in the video. And here, on the right, what that image looks like as a “negative:”


I don’t really understand how negative images work, which probably helps explain my extreme susceptibility to thinks like this “Negative Photo Illusion.” (Empty space — and the way my brain processes it — is more than a little freaky. Yet strangely mesmerizing to me, as well.) But even if I did understood the technical way Lai’s producing these works, I’m still gobsmacked at the idea that he’s able to simply carve out the negative (essentially) until he sets it free, all Buonaroti-like.


(And “No!” You do not get bonus points for recognizing the song. I did. And now I feel like Jacques. Also, my apologies for the groan-inducing pun in the title. I’m not sure what “inspired” me to do that. And now I feel like Jacques)

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About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, being amazed by his (currently) lone daughter, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.